Corrie Neighbors

Role: Graduate Student Researcher
Department of Earth Sciences
UC Riverside
Address: Geology Building
Riverside, CA 92521-0423


About Corrie

With a Bachelors degree from the University of South Carolina and a Masters degree from Florida State, both in Marine Geophysics, Corrie Neighbors entered the UC Riverside PhD program in 2008 interested in expanding her understanding of geophysics.

She is studying the tectonic process with Dr. Elizabeth Cochran and has been integral to the expansion of the Quake Catcher Network. Corrie has spent the past three years traveling around the world with Stanford PhD researcher Angela Chung setting up sensors and seismometers.

Her PhD work took her to Chile in March and Mexico in both April and August 2010. In Mexico City, they spent time at UNAM and the pyramids, as well as the Anthropology Museum. Her next trip may be to Alaska.

Quakes & Aftershocks

What have you been working on?

One of our projects involves looking at the seismic wave coherency of rock sites, specifically rock sites at precariously balanced rocks sites near UC Riverside. Precariously balanced rocks act as strong-motion seismoscopes that have been in place for thousands of years giving a direct constraint on unexceeded ground motion at a site. Following the integral work of Jim Brune and his colleagues at the University of Nevada, Reno, we are also creating 3-D computer models of the rock and pedestal geometries to estimate the ground accelerations required to topple the rocks.

What excites you most about QCN?

Anyone can use it! I wanted to work with Dr. Cochran because I was interested in her research and her development of the QCN as both an educational and research tool. I am very interested in the public perception, awareness and understanding of scientific research. We ask questions like, How can we reach the public with the research that we do? Iâve always been interested in education outreach and the QCN is a great route for sharing our research.

Tell us about your first quake.

During the first year of my PhD, I lived on the second story of an apartment complex in Riverside. I remember sitting in my living room when the quake hit, and all of a sudden, I was lifted out of my chair! I remember identifying the waves as I felt them, that was the P wave, and that was the S wave! and for the first time, I actually felt like a seismologist. Now having traveled to both Chile and Mexico following the big earthquakes last year, my family thinks I am an earthquake chaser! I had no idea when I started working with Elizabeth and QCN how much of the world I would get to see.

What is your goal for QCN?

I’m interested seismic hazard and in understanding site effects, i.e. how seismic waves are modified as they travel through sedimentary material, and how these phenomena effect the built environment. Most major cities of the world were settled on soft sedimentary material near coasts and rivers, and as a result may experience amplified and long-duration ground shaking. I would like to install a dense QCN system in every major city that sits on a basin. Site amplification analyses of urban areas that are located on sedimentary basins are important to understand how buildings respond to ground motion in order to mitigate future seismic hazard.